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Bigot with a Badge

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"Every day, for seven years, I've allowed myself to be hated and disrespected by these people, all to protect them from themselves. All I hear about on the news is dirty cops, cops who shoot innocent Black kids — it's crap! There were 84 murders in this city last year. Were all of those [murders] cops shooting innocent Black boys? Hell no. Those were Blacks turning guns on each other, but somehow, I'm the animal!"
Officer Newton, Scandal (2012)

This person is not a Noble Bigot with a Badge, because the simple Bigot with a Badge will not end the encounter with the hero by being brought around to a more inclusive viewpoint, nor will he be presented in a sympathetic light. The bigoted law enforcer may have started out with a case of prejudice, bias, or bigotry against a group (or groups) of people outside their own and somewhere along the line became convinced that the targets of their antagonism were despicable for simply existing. And if society has given this person a badge, the bigot may well become a threat.

In many times and places, government officials could use their authority to exercise naked prejudice and would have been shocked if you asked them why. Sometimes the bigotry is official policy, though sometimes it's just a matter of culture. But more often than not, it's just a desire to hide their cruelty behind a means that can't be easily retaliated against. Expect this attitude to be common in period works, such as The Wild West, the Antebellum South, or the Civil Rights Movement. There are also plenty of Hip-Hop songs on the subject, as most rappers are Black and many have had negative experiences with the police due to their race. As the tides of history change, count on many such cops to engage in profiling and outright Police Brutality against the people that they hate, as well as covering for others that commit such acts. Expect these examples to cross over with Intimidating White Presence (a common sister trope). May also be a Sub-Par Supremacist if they're also presented as lazy, stupid, and/or overweight (probably because of all the donuts). May cross over with Dirty Cop, Rabid Cop, and/or Politically Incorrect Villain.

No Real Life Examples, Please! Needless to say, this is often perceived to be Truth in Television in many officers, but whether or not their actions were motivated by bigotry is inherently Flame Bait.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Heavily implied in the opening of this part. Smokey - an African-American boy - is seen stealing a wallet from Joseph. He is then apprehended by two white police officers, but instead of simply arresting him and returning the wallet to Joseph (as would be the reasonable thing to do), they beat the crap out of Smokey, demand he gives them the wallet and pay them money from here on so they don't rough him up further. The manga is set in 1940s New York, and such attitudes were not unusual at the time.

    Comic Books 
  • Blacksad: The Chief of Police in the Line district, Hans Karup, is in fact the leader of The Klan (which in the furry universe of Blacksad means he's a white fur supremacist) and willfully turns a blind eye to any lynchings carried out by his fellow members.
  • Bloodlines (DC Comics): The portion of the Crisis Crossover in Batman Annual issue 17 features a racist Gotham City cop named McCain who isn't portrayed sympathetically and taunts fellow officer Kelvin Mao by invoking various Asian stereotypes.
  • Judge Dredd: Traditional race or sex-based discrimination has fallen out of favor by the 22nd century, and been replaced with anti-mutant discrimination. They were officially forbidden from settling in Mega-City One. When these laws were repealed, there were many Judges who did not accept it and sought to overturn the change, including two Chief Justices. Judge Dredd himself averts this, having always believed that the law should be applied equally (although even he hates Kleggs).
  • Preacher: A bigoted cop named Paul Bridges is featured in the "Naked City" arc, who is vocally racist and homophobic. At the end of the arc, he is discovered in a bondage club being subjected to foreplay by two Black men.
  • Runaways: When the title characters went back in time to 1900's New York City, they encountered a lot of bigoted cops, including the proto-superheroes Daystick and Nightstick, whose sole line in the series is hurling racist abuse at Japanese-American Nico. Nightstick is later shown being torn apart by a werewolf.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Boyz n the Hood: Officer Coffey is a Black police officer with a virulent hatred of Black people. Coffey himself, while brutalizing the main character, claims that he's a sadist. Even his (white) partner looks uncomfortable with this.
  • Circle: One of the Black people trapped in the circle starts complaining that the voting order has become racist. Although this initially draws the ire of his fellow captives, he's proven right when the Cop goes on a bigoted tirade against Black people as a whole and "socialist bullshit" in particular. Interestingly, the Cop had earlier gotten a Latino Tattooed Crook killed because he allegedly beat his girlfriend. The criminal himself confirmed this, but it raises doubts as to how sincere the Cop's motives were.
  • Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood: The aptly-named Officer Self Hatred is a Black cop who openly despises not only other Black people, but multiple things that are Black in color, like pepper or the Black keys on a piano. This being a parody of hood movies, he's Played for Laughs.
  • Do the Right Thing: The film explores racial tensions in a neighborhood. Things come to a breaking point when a cop chokes a Black man to death.
  • Driving Miss Daisy: While driving through Alabama, Daisy and Hoke are accosted by a pair of bigoted cops who address Hoke as "boy," ask him where he got the car, and after Daisy clarifies that it's hers, they question her about her surname while checking the car's registration. While they're fortunately allowed to leave unmolested, the cops comment as they drive away on what a "sorry sight" it is to see "an old nigger and an old Jew woman" traveling together.
  • Enter the Dragon: Williams gets into a fight with racist cops prior to getting on the boat for the tournament. Their primary slur for him is "jig", but when Williams fights back, they look positively enthusiastic upon getting a chance to do him ugly for "assaulting a police officer."
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: The film has an example that is largely Played for Laughs and is even loosely based on Kal Penn's own experiencenote . Harold spends some time in jail with a Black professor of literature who was arrested for a crime committed in a different city. Later, the titular characters encounter another Black man, a civil rights attorney, who was asleep in bed when a non-existent crime was reported, for which he nevertheless got arrested. One of the movie's stingers shows the sketches the police released of Harold and Kumar, and they're over the top Chinese and Indian (respectively) caricatures. Note that Harold is Korean.
  • Lakeview Terrace: Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) is a Scary Black Man version of this. A young interracial couple just so happens to have moved in next door, which he does NOT approve of. He proceeds to terrorize his new neighbors and uses his position as a cop to get away with it, even going so far as to have the husband sexually assaulted by a stripper and ultimately attempting to murder him.
  • The Lie: Implied with Detective Barnes. When he and Det. Tagata go to Ambiguously Brown Sam's house to question him about his daughter Britney's disappearance, Barnes bluntly asks him if he is Indian or Arab or what. Sam answers through gritted teeth that he is Pakistani. Barnes never clarifies the point of his question.
  • Lone Star (1996): Charlie Wade was the sheriff of a small Texas county in the 1950s. He was an unrepentant racist who murdered Blacks and Hispanics with impunity. Whenever he came upon a Black or Hispanic person with a gun, whether or not that person was committing a crime, Wade would point his own gun at the person and command him to hand over the gun. As soon as the person's hand was on the gun, Wade would shoot him and claim self-defense.
  • Men in Black 3: When J travels back to 1969 to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, he's pulled over by two older, somewhat dimwitted cops while driving an expensive vehicle they automatically assume he couldn't possibly have afforded to obtain legally. J tricks them into using the neuralizer on themselves. He sheepishly admits that he did steal that car, but him being Black had nothing to do with it.
  • Mississippi Burning: Most of the local police force belongs to the Klan and is involved in the murders, as in Real Life.
  • Pulp Fiction: Perhaps in order to increase the random horror of the encounter, rapist cop Zed is also really racist, making it a point to choose Marsellus Wallace as his first victim.
    Zed: Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. Catch a nigger by the toe.
  • Selma: The film includes racially-motivated police brutality. It depicts the marches from Selma to Montgomery that provoked violent backlash, including fire hoses and police dogs being set on protestors, the showing of which on broadcast television shocked the nation.
  • Touch of Evil: Set in a sleazy town along the U.S.-Mexico border, the film features a Mexican narcotics officer (played by Charlton Heston) whose honeymoon is interrupted by his sudden involvement in a murder case. In an attempt to run his own investigations, he establishes a confrontational relationship with crooked and racist police captain Hank Quinlan (played by Orson Welles) whose methods of enforcing the law often include breaking it.
  • While small town Mississippi Police Chief Gillespie eventually warms up to Philadelphia Detective Virgil Tibbsnote , the former and the rest of the police department start out incredibly racist in In the Heat of the Night, and the rest of them pretty much stay that way. Tibbs meets the police department because a murder has occurred and they arrest the first Black man they encounter, who was minding his own business reading a book at the bus station, and they find it suspicious that a [Black man] has money.

  • Backstrom: Loathsome cop Evert Bäckström deposits his scorn and contempt against anybody who isn't obviously white-skinned and native Swedish. Bäckström calls his parrot "Isaak" owing to a chain of associations brought on by contemplation of its impressively large and hooked beak. This is an example of Bäckström's general attitude towards all ethnic minorities in Sweden: he isn't so much anti-Semitic as anti-everybody.
  • The Choirboys: Officer Roscoe Rules comes from a typical white trash background. He hates everybody, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, but is particularly unpleasant in his dealings with Latino-Americans, especially those of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.
  • Discworld: "Mayonnaise" Quirke (he's rich, thick, and smells of eggs) is a watchman introduced as "the kind of person who spells negro with two 'g's." While intra-human racism isn't as big a problem on the Disc, Quirke is clearly the type to abuse his authority at any opportunity.
  • The Hate U Give: One-Fifteen, the white police officer who shoots and kills Starr's friend Khalil, allegedly because he saw a gun in his car (it was actually a hairbrush). He denies it was racially motivated, but it's very clear that the only reason Starr and Khalil were pulled over in the first place, much less forced from the car, was because they were Black teenagers driving around a lower-income neighborhood. Like with many real-life cases of police racism, One-Fifteen gets away with it.
  • Mercy Thompson: Les Heuter is an agent of Cantrip, a government policing agency in charge of monitoring supernaturals in America. He's also a monstrous Serial Killer and Serial Rapist who targets fae and werewolf women out of a mix of sadism, lust, and bigotry.
  • Nevermoor: Inspector Flintlock is a law enforcement officer who loathes immigrants and spends most of the first book harassing the protagonist Morrigan and trying to find even the slightest excuse to deport her. He says he just hates illegal immigrants, but his attitude and actions give the impression he's just a xenophobe who hides behind the law and his badge to justify it. (This is enforced by the fact that he has no empathy for illegal immigrants who came to Nevermoor because their lives were endangered, even when they're children. Furthermore, the laws have made it damn near impossible to immigrate legally, and he sees no problem with this.) He's obviously meant to be a critique of anti-immigration policies and xenophobic law enforcement in the real world.
  • Riotous Assembly: The book and its sequel are set in Apartheid South Africa. Naturally, they feature bigots with badges, especially Konstabel Els, who joined the police force so he could kill and rape Blacks legally.
  • White Jazz: Dudley Smith was already established as a racist Dirty Cop in previous LA Quartet books but the majority of his Evil Plan here is designed around exclusively marketing heroin to the Black population of Los Angeles in hopes of keeping them "contained."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Black Lightning (2018): The pilot episode has Jefferson getting pulled over by cops with his daughters inside the car because there was a robbery nearby. The hero points out how ridiculous it is to assume that the culprit would be a Black man in a suit driving a car with two girls, and the owner of the place that was robbed does indeed confirm his innocence. A later scene in the same episode has a white cop telling Jeff to "get his Black ass on the ground", to which he responds by non-lethally zapping them.
  • The Boys (2019): Season 3 introduces a police-themed supe named Blue Hawk, who also happens to be an unapologetic racist who has killed or seriously injured a lot of innocent Black men. After he is made to give an (insincere) apology to the Black community, he eventually pays for his hate crimes when A-Train kills him by dragging him across the street using his super speed.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Officer Maldeck, who stops and frisks Terry in "Moo Moo", is casually racist. When he's asked to apologize, he only does so because he didn't know Terry was a cop, refusing to apologize for stopping him (by his own confession) only because he was Black.
    • With the exception of Olivia, all of Holt's competitors for Commissioner are portrayed as irredeemably racist, remaining committed to stop and frisk policies.
  • Burden of Truth: Sam Mercer, Milwood's chief of police in season 2, is cordial towards the white suspects in the investigation of David Hanley's murder, but is noticeably hostile towards Gerrilyn Spence, who is Indigenous Canadian, and even makes subtly racist comments towards her. It is later revealed that he killed an indigenous man years ago and covered it up. The revelation of this information ends up costing him his badge.
  • Chiefs: Sonny Butts is a violent thug and Klansman who arrests and beats up an African-American prisoner for no reason before his deputy shoots the man. He does have a Freudian Excuse of sorts (an abusive home life and some bloody action in World War II) and is genuinely affected by the Serial Killer's murders (at least in the book), but he never changes his attitude toward African-Americans and never displays any remorse for his appalling actions toward them.
  • Cold Case: The episode "Forever Blue" deals with the case of a gay cop named Sean Cooper who was murdered in 1968. The killer is revealed to be Cooper's homophobic police sergeant Tom McCree and flashbacks show Sean getting a lot of flack from his fellow officers for his sexuality.
  • Criminal Minds: Deputy Ronald Boyd is a raving, racist Serial Killer who has Mexican immigrants hunted down and then killed with a machete.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • In "Mistaken Identity", Carlton has his first encounter with institutionalized racism when he and Will are pulled over by a cop for driving a borrowed Mercedes in a white neighborhood. Despite Carlton's insistence that no prejudice was involved in the incident, he is clearly shaken up by Will telling him just how flawed the justice system is.
    • "Robbing The Banks" has a more lighthearted reference to police racism. When the Banks' house is robbed, the police are naturally alerted. Will is amazed at how fast they responded to the call and jokes that "they must have thought we was white folks".
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Recurring character Roger Gaffney is an incompetent bigot who has a particular enmity with black people and women. Unfortunately, he winds up promoted above the main characters by Deputy Commissioner Harris to spite Giardello.
  • Lovecraft Country:
    • True to its 1950s setting, the show gives us Captain Seamus Lancaster, who asks Leti if she's with the "Monkey Urban League" or the "National Association for the Advancement of Cockroaches".
    • Episode 3 sees Leti buy a house in a white neighborhood. In response to this, the residents park their cars outside her house and tie bricks to their horns so that they are honking continuously. However, the cops ignore her complaints and only intervene three days later, arresting her when she smashes the windows to remove the bricks in response to a cross being burnt on her lawn. Leti's conversation with a cop in the police van afterwards indicates that she knew that this trope was the case.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In the episode "Bloodlines", when a member of a white supremacist organisation is murdered at a Black rights rally in Niagra, the local police arrest the first Black man who talks back and beat a confession out of him. Inspector Brackenreid is horrified to learn most of the force are members of the same organisation.
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News: A sketch called "Constable Savage" features a Chief Inspector giving a dressing-down to a police officer who has repeatedly arrested the same not-white man on a variety of ludicrous charges, culminating in him being held for "possession of curly hair and thick lips". He tells Savage "There's no place on my force for officers who use their position to uphold their bigotry! I'm transferring you to the Special Patrol Group!"note 
  • The People v. O. J. Simpson: The Los Angeles Police Department's history of racism is weaponized by Simpson's defense team who put forth the theory that he was framed by racist cops. Arguably the biggest blow to the prosecution's case is the revelation that the arresting officer, Mark Fuhrman, had a history of racist behavior, having used racist epithets, and admitting on tape to planting evidence and beating Black suspects.
  • Scandal (2012): "The Lawn Chair" deals with a protest sparked by the death of a Black teenager at the hands of a white police officer. The officer claims that the boy had pulled a knife on him and that he shot in self-defense. However, Olivia's team later discovers footage of the officer planting a knife on the boy after shooting him. Upon his crime being discovered, the officer goes on a racist Motive Rant about the lack of respect "those people" have for police officers.
  • Snowfall: Franklin Saint, a Black man, kills Black cop Andre Wright. Following this, Wright's beat is taken over by white racist Hubert "Nix" Nixon, who uses Wright's murder, and his correct suspicion that Franklin was behind it, to harass Franklin and his family. This ends up backfiring when he kidnaps Franklin's mother and bashes her head against Andre Wright's grave; hassling a suspected drug dealer is one thing, but beating up a citizen gets him banished to desk duty.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): A Season 4 arc involves Deacon's discovery of a number of racist cops within the LAPD, including one of the new SWAT recruits. It takes Hondo going to the press to get them tossed from the department. Hondo considers quitting the police in disgust over the fact he had to do this since the department wouldn't fire them otherwise.
  • The Twilight Zone (2019): In "Replay", a Black single mom transporting her 18-year-old son to college gets pulled over by a white sheriff's deputy, and gets out of the traffic stop with the discovery that her camcorder is a Time Rewind Mechanic. She spends the rest of the episode trying to get her son safely past the deputy, who is acting as the Monster of the Week and seems determined to prevent them from reaching their destination no matter how many times she rewinds.
  • WandaVision: Tyler Hayward is the secondary antagonist and a high-ranking agent of the intelligence agency SWORD. Initially appearing as a sympathetic and humble Reasonable Authority Figure, Hayward quickly jumps the rails when he ends up in the field and encounters Wanda, whom he promptly blames for everything going wrong and tries to murder against the advice of Monica and Darcy. It is later revealed that Hayward does have a role in causing the crisis by experimenting on Vision's original body which is what caused Wanda to snap from her grief.
  • Watchmen (2019) is absolutely rife with racist and bigoted cops, starting with the cops who enthusiastically aided in the Tulsa Race Riots, then showing the Klan-affiliated cops in 1940s New York. Even the "progressive" cops in modern Tulsa, like Red Scare and Pirate Jenny, aren't much better, as they gleefully abuse their authority to harass the lower-class denizens of "Nixonville". The series' point is that police authority attracts a lot of people who are all too quick to misuse it.
  • The Young Ones: This is a running gag throughout the show. At one point, Rick pictures a police officer telling a group of youths "You gay Black bastards! We've come to victimize you!" before Rick defeats them through the power of his "poetry". In another episode, a police officer who is wearing sunglasses starts harassing a white man on the street; when he takes off his sunglasses, he tells the man "Sorry! I thought you was a nigger."

  • KRS-One: "Sound of Da Police" criticizes bigoted cops who engage in institutionalized racism, profiling, and brutality against the Black community, and act like they own it, comparing them to plantation overseers who beat slaves.
  • N.W.A: The group's seminal protest anthem "Fuck Tha Police", particularly Ice Cube's verse, criticizes the racial profiling and police brutality done by white cops to Black people, while also pointing out that sometimes, a Black cop will act worse when partnered with a white one.
    And on the other hand, without a gun, they can't get none,
    But don't let it be a Black and a white one,
    'Cause they'll slam ya down to the street top,
    Black police showing out for the white cop!
  • Public Enemy: While the original version of "Fight the Power" touched on this, its 2020 remix, recorded in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide protests that followed, made it more explicit with new verses from Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, and others criticizing police brutality and prejudiced cops, particularly the ones complicit in Floyd's death.

  • West Side Story: The play translates the Reasonable Authority Figure of Prince Escalus to Detective Schrank, an openly classist, racist cop who escalates the situation. At one point he tries to butter up the (white) Jets to encourage them to attack the Sharks, but it's made clear he hates both gangs for being comprised of immigrants. The play accordingly gives his Shaming the Mob speech to Maria, the Juliet analogue. By comparison, his partner Officer Krupke is merely short-tempered and incompetent.
    Schrank: [to Bernardo] Yeah, sure, I know. It's a free country, I ain't got the right. But I got a badge. What do you got?

    Video Games 
  • BioShock: The Ducky splicers, who dress as policemen, express disdain towards "papists" and "race mixers".
  • Every cop in Bioshock Infinite is basically a Klansman in Black. Comstock's flying city is a monument to white supremacy and American Exceptionalism, where miscegenation is punished by being beaten to death by a mob, with a cop handing the first baseball to a lucky lottery winner.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: LSPD Officer Eddie Pulaski's first scene has him calling CJ's cabbie a "greaseball bastard" and a "stupid Mexican" before offering a half-hearted apology to his Latino fellow officer Jimmy Hernandez.
  • L.A. Noire: Roy Earle is highly racist towards Black people and shows very little respect towards women. He also happens to be the chief detective of the LAPD's Vice Division.
  • Mafia III:
    • Since the game takes place in 1968 Louisiana, it's probably unsurprising that the New Bordeaux Police Department has serious problems with racism. Officers can be seen harassing interracial couples and some are members of the Southern Union. This translates into gameplay mechanics: if Lincoln gets the cops called on him, they'll take significantly longer to respond if it happens in a Black area than they do if it happens in a white one.
    • However, as bad as the NBPD is, the Sinclair Parish Sherriff's Department almost manages to make them look good in comparison. They're absolutely obsessed with keeping their town an all-white community and their boss, Sheriff Walter "Slim" Beaumont, has countless civil rights violations under his belt. Unlike New Bordeaux cops, these officers are programmed as enemies and will attack Lincoln on sight even if he hasn't committed a crime. Also unlike the NBPD, you don't have someone on the inside like dispatcher Fiona Davidson, so you're on your own if you want to get rid of them.
  • The Outlast Trials: Leland Coyle is (presumably) an ex-cop and KKK member in his case given that he was kidnapped and Reforged into a Minion for Murkoff for their experiments, but he still fills out the checklist. His mutterings toward himself and his threats to the players are filled with misogynist, racist, and homophobic insults and he used his position in power to coverup for his various crimes.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole: The town's police department have holding cells full of Black prisoners, all of whom are implied to have been wrongfully arrested, but only a single white inmate, Jared Fogle. The reason for this is that the cops are also secretly cultists of the Lovecraftian Outer God Shub-Niggurath, who demands human sacrifices but can't tolerate "white meat".


    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: One episode has Joe show off a new high-tech police van which includes a mechanical arresting machine. When Peter tests the machine, robot arms place handcuffs him and read him his Miranda rights, but when Cleveland tests it out, the arms start clubbing him, saying "Warning! Minority suspect! He has a gun!", and places a gun on the ground next to him.
  • South Park: Parodied in later seasons, where the South Park Police Department is depicted as disproportionately focused on the town's people of color. For example, in "The Pandemic Special" when Cartman and Kyle get into a fight, the policemen (standing in as teachers) open fire and only shoot Token, the sole Black kid in class. The police then try to cover up Token's shooting as related to COVID-19. Ironically, Officer Barbrady is fired in "Naughty Ninjas" for accidentally shooting two Latino children, despite being one of the few cops who isn't a brutal bigot.